I still get occasional questions about last fall's unsavory and still-unexplained aroma that wafted over scattered parts of Los Angeles. (I have no answers, and never bought into the red tide scenario, the dampened storm drain speculation or Mickey Kaus's conspiracy fear.) While our stench reminded people of sour milk and wet mattresses, and one reader recognized the scent of Baghdad, New York was treated to a hotcakes and syrup smell that they are still talking about. Today's New York Times revisits the subject and says theories have "spread faster than warm Aunt Jemima on pancakes," and now center on New Jersey where the first phone calls came from.
"What disgusting smell doesn't come from New Jersey?" asked Michelle Collins, 24, a paralegal and blogger who lives at 111th Street and Broadway. She has been widely credited with writing first about the smell on her Web site, youcantmakeitup.blogspot.com.
Government agencies said that they do not believe the scent is dangerous and that they did not receive any complaints that day, but a spokesman for the city environmental protection agency said the current theory is that it most likely came from New Jersey.
"It's food processing," said Charles Sturcken, a spokesman for the city's environmental protection agency.
Mr. Sturcken said that this was "based on common judgment of our air inspectors," and that "things do drift over often from Jersey."
Shortly after I began writing about our stench, reports came in from San Jose and Washington, D.C.